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Difference Between Freestyle, Free Verse, Traditional Poetry and Other Styles

Updated on August 2, 2017
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Lena Kovadlo is a writer for various content-sharing websites. She's an author of 12 books and helps other authors publish theirs.

different forms and styles of poetry
different forms and styles of poetry | Source

There are three big categories of poetry that exist out there - free verse, freestyle, and traditional form poetry.

With free verse poetry you refrain from using a specific pattern of rhyme or meter.

With freestyle poetry you don't have a formatted style or pattern but you use rhyme most of the time and therefore create a catchy beat with your words, similar to rap.

With traditional poetry there is usually a specific meter, rhyme scheme, syllable count, style, or form that you have to follow. This type of poetry is usually harder to write than free verse or freestyle poetry.

Types of Traditional Poetry

Traditional poetry consists of many different forms and styles that have a specific format and a specific set of rules that must be followed. Some of the popular and more known forms of poetry include Shakespearean sonnet, villanelle, haiku, and senryu.

Out of these four forms of poetry a villanelle is probably the hardest to write. It has the most number of lines, has more than one stanza, is written in iambic pentameter, has a repeating rhyme scheme, and repeating lines.

Unless you've been writing villanelles on a regular basis it is very unlikely that your first villanelle will come with ease and become a masterpiece. But don't worry about that. Practice makes perfect. The more villanelles you write the better you get at writing and mastering them.

The same can be said for any form or style of poetry for that matter. If you are having trouble, don't give up. Just keep working on it until you get better. That is the only way you will learn and perfect your craft.

Other Types of Poetry

Besides the specific forms of poetry like the sonnet or haiku there are different types of poems that you can write.

  • Abstract poem - a poem that uses sounds, rhymes, and rhythms to convey a certain emotion.
  • Ode poem - a poem that is dedicated to a person, place, or thing.
  • Object poem - a poem written about a specific object.
  • Concrete poem - a poem in which the lines take the shape of an object. It is usually written about that particular object. For example, a poem about a tree is shaped to look like a tree.
  • Alliteration poem - a poem where words begin with the same letter or the same sound.
  • Personification poem - a poem that gives human-like qualities to an object.
  • Metaphor poem - a poem where you compare a person, object, etc. to something or someone else.
  • Lyric poem - a poem that has song-like qualities, or melody to it.
  • Narrative poem - a poem that tells a story.
  • Ballad - a short narrative poem that is meant to be sung.
  • Epic poem - a long narrative poem that is of a heroic nature.
  • Dramatic poem - a poem that greatly expresses emotions/feelings. It usually involves narrative poetry about a specific person going through a specific scenario or situation.
  • Acrostic poem - a poem in which the first letter of each line spells out a word, phrase, or name. Sometimes the last letter of each line or a certain letter in each line can spell out a word, phrase, or name as well, though these are harder to master.
  • Prose poem - a work of prose that has poetic qualities to it, such as vivid imagery, for example.
  • Limerick poem - a five line poem that has an aabba rhyme scheme and is meant to be humorous but at the same time has meaning behind it.

Each of these types/styles of poetry can be written on any topic really though there may be a few exceptions. Some of these also have a set of rules or requirements that you must follow when you write in that form. The limerick and the acrostic poem are two of these.

© 2012 Lena Kovadlo


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    • lovebuglena profile imageAUTHOR

      Lena Kovadlo 

      3 months ago from Staten Island, NY

      I prefer to write free verse but sometimes like the challenge of trying to write in a certain form.

    • Theblogchick profile image


      3 months ago from United States

      I mostly stick to free style poetry since its the most easiest style to write from. However i must admit i love reading narrative and other styles of poetry. Thanks for sharing this interesting article.

    • Mark Tulin profile image

      Mark Tulin 

      2 years ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Concise definitions to these poetry forms. Will use as a reference. Thanks.

    • lovebuglena profile imageAUTHOR

      Lena Kovadlo 

      7 years ago from Staten Island, NY

      Thank you for your feedback Poetic Fool.

    • profile image

      Poetic Fool 

      7 years ago

      You did a nice job on this hub! You covered a lot of ground clearly and concisely. That's not easy to do when you're talking about poetry. Voted up, interesting and useful!

    • lovebuglena profile imageAUTHOR

      Lena Kovadlo 

      7 years ago from Staten Island, NY

      cat on a soapbox - You are welcome! Hope you find this useful.

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 

      7 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hello lovebuglena,

      I have been wanting to explore the differences in poetic styles and am so happy to have discovered your hub! Thank you for all of this great information.


    • lovebuglena profile imageAUTHOR

      Lena Kovadlo 

      7 years ago from Staten Island, NY

      You are welcome picklesandrufus. Glad I was able to "teach" you something new.

    • picklesandrufus profile image


      7 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

      I definitely learned something I didn't know. Thanks for the good information!!

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      7 years ago from Daytona Beach, Florida

      Thanks for this very informative and interesting hub on the different forms of poetry. I guess I pretty much toss them all aside cause I just write how I feel and don't think of any form at all. Passing this on.

    • lovebuglena profile imageAUTHOR

      Lena Kovadlo 

      7 years ago from Staten Island, NY

      Thanks for your feedback Regis

    • rauffray profile image


      7 years ago from BC, Canada

      A concise look at different poetic forms; thank you, Lena.

    • lovebuglena profile imageAUTHOR

      Lena Kovadlo 

      7 years ago from Staten Island, NY

      Glad you think so. Thanks for your feedback.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Good overview of poetry. Thank you


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